Oct. 22, 2005
In September, the Florida State basketball squad flew out of the country to play four games on the island of Trinidad. As an indication of how they will perform during the upcoming season, the team played well and the players got a head start on the upcoming season. Not only was the team successful as it won all four of its games on its trip, but the players had an unforgettable experience in an unforgettable place. The Florida State Sports Information Office sat down to talk with sophomore guard Isaiah Swann for some insight into the team’s performance during the trip and for the season ahead.
Do you think the trip to Trinidad gave you a sense of how the team will perform once the season gets underway?
Yes and no. I say yes because we played well together and the new guys meshed well together. Because of those two factors, I feel we got our season off to a good start. I say no because the competition level was not like it’s going to be in the ACC, so the games weren’t representative what play in the ACC will be like. But it was good for us as a team because we come together and played together for the first time as a team. We all feel we played well as a team.
The team was surrounded by a unique atmosphere while in Trinidad. Do you believe the team was inspired by anything that would motivate them this season?
I believe that we got a lot from traveling to Trinidad. I feel we got a lot out of the trip because we won the four games we played in Trinidad. I think the games were very helpful to us and motivated us to work harder now during the off season and as we approach the start of the season. I think that if we do work harder then we can improve our standing in the ACC. But we have to want it. Those are two important factors that will determine our fate — hard work and determination.
Outside of basketball, what was the most memorable moment while being in Trinidad?
It was probably when we went to a restaurant and ate some Caribbean food before we left the island. That was the most memorable. The food was very good. They served us shark; it tasted like fish and chicken mixed together. It was crazy, but alright.
Was that the first time you had shark?
Yes. It was alright. It was pretty good.
How’s the money/currency in Trinidad?
They had their own money, so it’s like Trinidadian money. I kept a dollar. It’s like six dollars to our one U.S. dollar. It was different, but it was interesting. We didn’t get to go shopping or anything because we played four games in a short span of time.
How long were you there for?
Four days, so we just played basketball.
Tell us about your schedule while you were in Trinidad.
We played four games in three days. We played one game on Friday and Sunday and on Saturday we played two games. As soon as we got off the plane, we went to the gym. We had a game at eight that night. Then the next morning, we had a game and another one in the afternoon. The third day we had one game, and then that was it. So, the last day we were there, we didn’t even stay.
Describe your perspective of the team’s performance on the trip.
I think we played real well, the new guys really stepped up. Casaan (Breeden), Jerel (Allen) and Uche (Echefu) really stepped up. We set the tone and then our reserves came in and finished the games. So, we finished the games on a positive note. There were a couple of little step-backs that we had, but we worked through them. We know it’s early– they’re young, and were still learning too, so we’ll get together for the regular season.
Do you think playing basketball overseas has been beneficial? How?
I think the trip was beneficial to our team. The new guys learned a lot coming together and playing for the first time. They hadn’t been exposed to playing in the college level as a college player before the trip, but they got somewhat of a feeling of what it’s going to be like– how we have to get up and down the court and play defense. So, I think it helped a lot.
Reflecting on the successful trip to Trinidad, what are your goals and for the team this season?
My main goal is to help our team be successful in anyway I possible can. I want to help our team win games and be selected to play in the NCAA Tournament. I want to try and make All-ACC Honors, which is also a goal of mine. I’ve been working hard this summer, so I think I can do it. We just have to go out there and play every game like it’s our last, and eventually it will pay off.
When did you initially get your start at basketball?
I started playing basketball at six years old. I saw Michael Jordan when I was a kid and I was like, “I can do that.”
Did you participate in any other sports while growing up?
Yes, I played basketball and football. I stopped playing football in 10th grade and baseball in 11th.
What have you worked on to get better yourself?
I’ve worked on my long range shot — my 3-pointer because I shot 33 percent from long range last year. I wasn’t too happy with that. I’ve worked on it, and now I feel more comfortable with my shot. I’ve worked on a lot of other things too, like coming off ball screens, learning to take care of the ball and my conditioning. Last year, I’d be tired in like the first five minutes of the game, and I’m like, “What’s going on, I’m not usually like this.” I have asthma, but that’s no excuse. I got asthma in seventh grade, but I don’t use that as an excuse.
As a major scorer for the team, what do you believe you contribute?
I just go out there and try to make my teammates better– anything I can do, whether it be scoring, passing, playing defense, rebounding, anything. That’s my goal for this year– one of my biggest goals this year, do anything to make my teammates better, and to help us win.
There’s always room for improvement. What do you think the team needs to improve, or work on, for a successful start this season?
I think we need to be a better conditioned team – as a team and as individuals. We’ve been working hard and if we work even a little harder on conditioning, we can get up and down the floor. If we are a better conditioned team we should be able to score more quick baskets. For example, last season in our game at North Carolina, we played 37 minutes of a good game, and we were right there with them. We were winning at halftime, and then towards the last three minutes, we didn’t have any gas left. That’s part of it; part of our conditioning and training. We needed to train more to win that game. It was hard, but I see what the coaches were talking about when they say you have to prepare to win. But if we work on our conditioning a little more, then I think we will be able to finish those games.
What is it about this Seminole team that makes them different from last year’s?
This year, I think we have a couple of guys will step up and become leaders. Last year
we really didn’t have a group of guys that were like, “Yeah, this is my team, we’re going to take care of you.” I think we have those kinds of leaders this year. People are starting to find their roles and we’re starting to come together.
By Stephanie Ecott
FSU Sports Information